Tag Archives: Andrea Franchetti

 Passopisciaro, Mount Etna Passorosso and Passobianco 2017

 

“The 2017 growing season was exceptionally hot, even on Mount Etna,” commented Andrea Franchetti, the oenologist who was one of just a handful of pioneers to recognise the winemaking potential of the volcano’s utterly unique soils and climate. His research led him to select 26 hectares of terraced vineyards that today constitute the Passopisciaro wine estate. “Nonetheless,” he continued, ”that intense heat, which continued unabated into September, with diurnal temperature fluctuations less marked than usual, had no negative impact at all on wine quality; rather, the marriage of the site’s unique conditions of sunlight, elevation and volcanic soils retained its determining influence and yielded wines of powerful character.”      

 

Passorosso 2017

Passorosso 2017, 100% Nerello Mascalese, is an eloquent interpretation of its Etna home, and in particular of the villages of Malpasso, Guardiola, Santo Spirito, Favazza, and Arcuria, lying at elevations of 500 to 1100 feet. Soils in the highest zones are composed of large-size gravel, while those lower down are deeper and finer-grained, derived from ancient lava flows. In 2017, ripening in the vineyards was slow and gradual, and harvest arrived slightly early, between 20 and 29 October. Following fermentation in steel, Passorosso concluded malolactic in large oak ovals, where it matured over some 18 months. The wine boasts an ultra-crisp acidity and earthy minerality, impressive structure and body, and restrained alcohol.   

 

 

Passobianco 2017

The all-Chardonnay Passobianco 2017 is grown in four hectares at an elevation of 850-1000 metres, where the steep terraces in the Guardiola district offer loose, deep soils of lava derivation with high mineral content. During the 2017 season, the Chardonnay vines required spray irrigation at night to ward off heat stress, and harvest came early, between 13 and 30 August, bringing yields that were lower than normal but with concentrated fruit. The must fermented 20 days at around 23°C in steel, then Passobianco matured for 10 months in both concrete vats and large oak ovals. Today, it is crisp and zesty, with its prominent tropical fruit promising significant longevity.       

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When Andrea Franchetti met Mount Etna, the offspring of the encounter was Passopisciaro. In 2000, Franchetti began to reconstitute the terraced vineyards of Nerello Mascalese, successively planting new vineyards at densities of 12,000 vines per hectare and then restructuring a building, at 800 metres’ elevation, that would eventually become the Passopisciaro winecellar. Thus began Etna’s winemaking renaissance. Andrea Franchetti was likewise the proponent of the concept of the “vini di Contrada,” or wines reflecting the various individual districts, which today is celebrated by the international-level event “Le Contrade dell’Etna” that focuses on the Nerello grape.

Today, the Passopisciaro estate relies on 26 hectares of vineyards distributed over the north flank of Etna; most are planted to Nerello Mascalese, often un-grafted vines 80-100 years old, but there are Petit Verdot, Cesanese di Affile, and Chardonnay as well. Eight wines are produced. In addition to Passorosso and Passobianco, the portfolio boasts five crus: the contrade of Chiappemacine, Porcaria, Guardiola, Sciaranuova, and Rampante, plus the prestigious Franchetti, a marriage of Petit Verdot and Cesanese d’Affile. Andrea Franchetti is the owner of Tenuta di Trinoro as well, located at Sarteano (Val D’Orcia) in Tuscany, famous for its Bordeaux blend wine of the same name.

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Début of Tenuta di Trinoro vintage 2017, flanked by a new Bianco

2017 was a challenging growing year. Even a unique environmental niche such as the Val d’Orcia had to confront, like the rest of Italy, three months of intense summer heat, made more severe by a lack of groundwater reserves, the result of the previous relatively dry winter. But the Tenuta di Trinoro team was successful in meeting the challenge, demonstrating determined, expert vineyard management that put into practice every tenet of the production philosophy of Andrea Franchetti, winery founder and creator of wines unique for their concentration, depth, and complexity.   

 

Thanks to the lengthy, hot season, there was certainly no lack of concentration in the fruit. At harvest, begun 27 September and concluded 13 October, the berries were small, with thick skins and little juice, and their wines emerged near-opaque, black, and concentrated. It required waiting some months before they could be evaluated properly and a final blend assembled, which privileged Cabernet Franc, at 69%, assisted by 23% Merlot and 8% Cabernet Sauvignon.   

Tenuta di Trinoro 2017 is full-bodied with fine depth, “and dense-packed, silky tannins; the palate showcases well-ripened plum and blueberry, with wild herb and iron-like impressions,” explained Franchetti. Some years of bottle-ageing will allow it to achieve full expression and “to lose those slight vegetal notes that, of course, are classic to the two Cabernets.”    

2017 also marks the debut—at least to the markets – of the Tenuta’s Bianco, a one-of-a-kind, 100% Semillon that grows in a tiny, sandy-soil parcel at an elevation of 630 metres and with a very tight, 1 x 1 metre layout. The pronounced aromatic qualities classic to the variety are nicely balanced in the grapes by a forward crispness and acidity, producing a wine that is concentrated yet taut, displaying great depth and promising significant cellarability.  

 

Tenuta di Trinoro. Located near Sarteano, at the entrance to the Val d’Orcia, in southeast Tuscany, the estate boasts 16 vineyard parcels, totaling some 25 hectares, planted at elevations of 450-650 metres. Tenuta di Trinoro is a Bordeaux-style cuvée that has always been the estate’s keystone wine. Its portfolio also includes Le Cupole, a younger and more accessible wine from the estate vineyards; I Campi, from three parcels of Cabernet Franc; the all-Merlot Palazzi; and, debuting with the 2017 vintage, Bianco di Trinoro.      

Tenuta di Trinoro interprets the 2016 vintage and translates it into a masterpiece

 

 

The 2016 growing season, quite well-balanced, with mild and sometimes cool weather, is difficult to describe, much less to embody in the bottle, but at Tenuta di Trinoro it is precisely in seasons like this that knowing how to wait “results in incredible wines.”

For over 20 years now, this wine estate, located in the Val d’Orcia, an enchanted and utterly unique corner of earth, has been harvesting “à la carte”–picking the grapes from its 16 vineyards just at the moment when each is optimally ripe. All the vineyards, a mosaic of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petit Verdot, are planted at very high densities in the estate’s clay soils. 

The 2016 harvest started on 24 September, and the memory is still vivid: “Exciting-quality Merlot is still coming into the cellar, on 27 and 29, and we did the last load on a very long 30 September (…) On the first days of October it rained lightly on the Cabernet Franc, but the vineyards dried out, and then the moon rose, bright and clear.” “By 12 October, the valley was a sea of dark grapes, and the moon advanced majestically like a banner leading the wine styles into the world of luxury.”

Later, benchmark producer Andrea Franchetti took this complex of grape varieties and characters and fashioned this res nova, the perduring estate wine in its latest edition. “In the 2016 vintage, I wanted to express the season’s delicate character; putting aside all the other vats, I chose two of Merlot and two of Cabernet Franc, in equal parts.” 

Right now, the 2016 vintage Tenuta di Trinoro, produced in 6,000 bottles, is setting off on its journey throughout the world. Its favoured market is England, where for avid collectors it conjures up the dream and experience of Tuscany, but it is sought-after in the German-speaking world as well, in America, and obviously in Italy too, where it is found in the finest wine-shops and restaurants. The price is not at an every-day level, but sublime emotions are not always within easy reach.

 

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Tenuta di Trinoro is located at Sarteano, at the beginning of the Val d’Orcia, in southeast Tuscany. The vineyards, divided into 16 separate parcels lying between 450-600 metres’ elevation. Tenuta di Trinoro has always been the winery’s iconic wine. The portfolio also includes Palazzi, a powerful Merlot-interpretation and Le Cupole, a younger, more accessible version, from the estate’s younger vineyards; recently also three crus from three separate vineyard parcels of Cabernet Franc have become part of the Tenuta di Trinoro’s wine collection, i.e. Campo di Tenaglia, Campo di Magnacosta and Campo di Camagi.

Tenuta di Trinoro triumphs at Merano WineFestival

The Wine Hunter names Palazzi 2015 as Best Wine


The best wine at the Merano Wine Festival 2017, the prestigious wine show that attracts producers from Italy and across the globe, is Palazzi from Tenuta di Trinoro, the cult winery of so many wine-lovers.

Palazzi stood out from all the Platinum wines (over 95 points) that had been selected by The Wine Hunter Helmuth Köcher (award.winehunter.it) and which this year too included world-class wines such as Saffredi, Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia, Le Pergole Torte, D’Alceo, and Il Marroneto—to mention just few examples from Tuscany, Tenuta di Trinoro’s winegrowing region.

“I am extremely proud of this recognition, which is such a tribute to our interpretation of Merlot,” commented . “Here in the Val d’Orcia, in our clay-rich soils, this grape gives us a remarkably fleshy, deep wine.

“The 2015 growing year was essentially trouble-free, with rains coming regularly and at substantial intervals right up to November, allowing us to bring in exceptional-quality Merlot without any haste.”  

Today, the results are on full display in the bottle—if one can find one of the 3,700 produced.